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COL@HOU: Altuve singles home Schafer in the third

HOUSTON -- At least the Astros can take satisfaction in rallying for two runs in the ninth inning to avoid what would have been the worst loss in the franchise's 50-year history.

Beyond that, it was a forgettable Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park for the Astros.

The free-swinging Rockies set a franchise record by pounding out 25 hits, including four home runs, and scored runs in seven consecutive innings to hand the Astros a 19-3 loss that tied the club record for their largest margin of defeat.

"It wasn't any fun for any of us in this clubhouse," Astros shortstop Clint Barmes said.

On the 25th anniversary of one of the franchise's greatest moments -- Mike Scott's 1986 no-hitter to clinch the Nation League West -- the Astros allowed their most hits since giving up a team-record 26 hits on Aug. 3, 1989 at Cincinnati.

"It's terrible," Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez said. "It speaks for itself, you know? It's one of those games where it just drags on and everything that goes wrong, goes wrong.

"It just seems like everything they were hitting -- whether they were hitting on the knob, on the end, on their hands, it doesn't matter -- it was a hit. So you're just like 'Really?' And there's nothing you can do about it. Just one of those days."

The loss would have been the worst the team had ever suffered had Chris Johnson and J.B. Shuck not came through with RBI singles in the ninth inning, which began with the Astros trailing 19-1.

"Something like this is never easy," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "This is never fun. You're really hurting for those guys out there trying to do their best. Offensively, guys kept swinging and running the bases and trying to do some things."

The Astros hadn't lost by more than eight runs this season, and nine of their previous 10 losses were by two runs or less, including Saturday's 4-2 loss in 13 innings to Colorado. Three Rockies players had four hits -- Jordan Pacheco, Ty Wigginton and Tommy Field -- for a team in which only three regulars were in the starting lineup.

The Rockies didn't score in the first inning before scoring runs in each of the next seven innings, including three runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings and adding a five-run eighth.

"It's always fun to see your teammates do good things over and over, at-bat after at-bat," Field said. "It's good to have your good at-bats mixed in there as well."

The only run the Astros scored against Colorado starter Kevin Millwood came on an error in the third inning. Lucas Harrell (0-2), making his second start for the Astros, gave up seven hits and five runs (three earned) in three innings, including a run that scored on a balk in the third.

Harrell was followed by a series of relievers who had trouble missing bats.

Aneury Rodriguez allowed four runs in two innings, Lance Pendleton was rocked for five runs in two innings, including homers by Millwood and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Xavier Cedeno pitched one inning and gave up five runs, including homers to Kouzmanoff and Chris Iannetta.

"We haven't had very many like that," Mills said. "Our pitching has been absolutely outstanding this last month. Following last night's 13-inning game up with this game made this one tougher to swallow, simply because we had played so well in the first two games of the series."

The floodgates opened for the Rockies in the second. With runners and first and third and no outs, Iannetta hit a comebacker to Harrell, who turned and fired a wild throw to second base that went into the outfield. Colorado scored three in the second and two in the third to take a 5-0 lead.

"That's what started it all," Harrell said. "I just rushed a little bit and didn't really plant on my back leg and threw it off my front foot and it sailed wide. It was definitely a start of everything that happened."

While the Rockies wore out the pitching staff and base paths, Millwood held the Astros to three hits and one run in seven innings.

"Millwood threw the ball well," Mills said. "It seemed like he commanded the first base side of home plate really well and as he commanded that he was going off [the plate] a little bit as well, and when you have that good command you're going to get some pitches off the plate as well."

Barmes, who was traded from the Rockies last year, could only shake his head in disbelief.

"It's frustrating for all of us," he said. "It's hard when you see one [reliever] come in, one after the other. It's the big leagues and if you give guys chances to hit in good hitter's counts every time, things like that are going to happen. But we're all in together."

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